Indispensable Analytics Guidance for All Levels



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ORGANIZATIONAL Leaders and Analytics Executives

who need to understand what it means to build and maintain an analytics capability and culture, including those in newly minted chief analytics officer or chief data officer positions.

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Analytics Teams on the Front Lines

of designing, developing, and delivering analytics as a service or as a product.  This group includes analytics product managers, team leads, analysts, project managers, statisticians, scientists, engineers, data scientists, and the "quants" who build analytics models.

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Aspiring Data Champions

those who use data or consume analytics products in their role as fact-based, problem solvers.  The data champion is anyone who wishes to use data to improve performance, support a decision, or change the trajectory of some business process.


An evidence-based organizational framework for exceptional analytics team results

The Analytics Lifecycle Toolkit provides managers with a practical manual for integrating data management and analytic technologies into their organization. Author Gregory Nelson has encountered hundreds of unique perspectives on analytics optimization from across industries; over the years, successful strategies have proven to share certain practices, skillsets, expertise, and structural traits. In this book, he details the concepts, people and processes that contribute to exemplary results, and shares an organizational framework for analytics team functions and roles. By merging analytic culture with data and technology strategies, this framework creates understanding for analytics leaders and a toolbox for practitioners. Focused on team effectiveness and the design thinking surrounding product creation, the framework is illustrated by real-world case studies to show how effective analytics team leadership works on the ground. 

Tools and templates include best practices for process improvement, workforce enablement, and leadership support, while guidance includes both conceptual discussion of the analytics life cycle and detailed process descriptions. Readers will be equipped to: 

  • Master fundamental concepts and practices of the analytics life cycle
  • Understand the knowledge domains and best practices for each stage
  • Delve into the details of analytical team processes and process optimization
  • Utilize a robust toolkit designed to support analytic team effectiveness

The analytics life cycle includes a diverse set of considerations involving the people, processes, culture, data, and technology, and managers needing stellar analytics performance must understand their unique role in the process of winnowing the big picture down to meaningful action. The Analytics Lifecycle Toolkit provides expert perspective and much-needed insight to managers, while providing practitioners with a new set of tools for optimizing results.



                                   Book Excerpt - Read a Sample Chapter

                                   Book Bibliography - Read


Tools for your Toolkit

Author Greg Nelson Bio



Greg Nelson is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of ThotWave, an expert for the International Institute for Analytics, and adjunct faculty at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. He teaches analytics in both the School of Nursing and at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. Greg has authored over 200 papers and publications and is a regular speaker and keynote presenter at national and international events in both technology as well as for private companies and events.

Greg, an analytics evangelist and futurist, has brought his 20+ years of analytics advisory work to bear to this important topic – the people and process side of analytics. Through this pragmatic treatment of the analytics lifecycle, Greg speaks to both the practical and human-centeredness of analytics in a way that is accessible and useful for all data champions.

Greg earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz in Psychology, a Masters in Clinical Informatics from Duke University, and conducted Ph.D. level work in Social and Cognitive Psychology at the University of Georgia.

Having once flown to Alaska on a one-way ticket armed with a tent, a sleeping bag, and only $100 to his name to earn his next semester's college tuition on a fishing boat, Greg has settled in rural North Carolina, where he lives with his wife Susan and their four-legged menagerie on a farmlet.

You can connect with Greg on twitter @gregorysnelson or on LinkedIn at You can also visit his website,, to learn more about some of the tools and techniques outlined in this book.



Thomas H. Davenport, Ph.D.,

Author of Competing on Analytics and Only Humans Need Apply

 “Full of wisdom and experience about analytics, this book’s greatest strength is its lifecycle approach. From framing the question to getting results, you’ll learn how analytics can really have an impact on organizations.”

John Sall, Ph.D.,


SAS Co-Founder and Chief Architect of JMP

“This book condenses a lot of deep thinking on the wide field of analytics strategy. Analytics is not easy—there are no quickie AI/BI/ML shortcuts to understanding your data, your business, or your processes. You have to build a diverse team of talent. You have to respect the hazards of ‘fishing expeditions’ that may need false-discovery-rate adjustments. You should consider designed experiments to get the true behavior of a process, something that observational data may hint at, but not provide complete understanding. There are dimensions of data wrangling, feature engineering, and data sense-making that all call for different skills. But with deep investment in analytics comes deep insight into processes and tremendous opportunity for improvements. This book puts analytics in the context of a strategic business system, with all its dimensions.” 

Scott Radcliffe, 


Executive Director, Data Analytics at Cox Communications

The Analytics Lifecycle Toolkit provides a clear prescription for organizations aiming to develop a high-performing and scalable analytics capability. Greg organizes and develops with unusual clarity some of the critical nontechnical aspects of the analytics value-chain, and links them with the technical as building blocks in a comprehensive practice. Studying this map of how to negotiate the challenges to effectiveness and efficiency in analytics could save organizations months, or even years of painful trial and error on the road to proficiency.”

Jeremy Petranka, Ph.D.

Assistant Dean, Master                 of Quantitative Management at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business

 “Many books exist that answer the question ‘what is the right tool to solve a problem?’ This is one of the few books I’ve read that answers the much more difficult question ‘how do we make analytics become transformative throughout our organization?’ Incorporating elements of data science, design thinking, and organizational theory, this book is a valuable resource for executives looking to build analytics into their organizational DNA, data scientists looking to expand their organizational reach, and analytics programs that teach students not just how to do data science, but how to use data science to affect tangible change.”

Bob Gladden,


Vice President, Enterprise Analytics, Highmark Health

“This book is the ‘thinking person’s guide to analytics.’ Greg has gone deep on some topics and provided considerable references across the analytics lifecycle. This is one of the best books on analytics I have read…and I think I have read them all!”